Wednesday, March 20, 2013

166 Feared Dead in boat accident

A boat traveling from Oron in Akwa Ibom State to Malabao in Equilateral Guinea, yesterday, capsized at the Calabar Waterways with no fewer than 166 passengers feared dead.

Eyewitnesses said the passengers were traveling in a "giant-sized wooden boat" when it capsized at 40 nautical miles along the coast of Calabar off Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, waterways".

Investigation shows that 45 corpses of some of the victims have been deposited at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, mortuary.

But Mr David Akate, the Assistant Director, Information, Cross River Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, who confirmed the incident, did not give further details.

The eyewitnesses said the boat was carrying 168 passengers, adding that rescue efforts were still going on.

A marine transporter at the Calabar Inland Waterways, Mr Ikechukwu Egwu, also confirmed the incident. He said the passengers of the boat were mostly Igbo traders who were heading for Gabon, adding that they were mostly from the South East states who headed to Oron in Akwa Ibom to board the wooden boat because it was cheap.

"They are mostly Igbo traders who headed to Oron to board the wooden boat because it was cheaper," he said.

The victims' corpses were being deposited in UCTH Calabar instead of Malabo, where the mishap occurred, because they were believed to be Nigerians

A statement by spokesman of National Emergency Management Agency, Mr Y A Shuaib however said "Nigerian rescuers have recovered 9 bodies while two survivors have been taken to UCTH Calabar", adding that rescue continues.

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